Eichhorn Ends Stellar Career with Sweep

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 1, 2017

GLADSTONE — It was business as usual for Hunter Eichhorn at Thursday’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Boys Golf Finals.

The Carney-Nadeau senior fired a 6-under-par 66 on this sunny and mild day at Irish Oaks Golf Course for his fourth consecutive U.P. title.

He also helped the Wolves secure their third straight team championship with 327 strokes, 13 fewer than runner-up Cedarville. North Central placed third at 361.

This marked a nine-stroke improvement from a year ago for Eichhorn, who shot 75 on the same course.

“I hit the ball real well today,” said Eichhorn, who will continue his golf career at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “I didn’t get any bogeys, which is a huge part of it. There’s a little more pressure and more people watching you in the U.P. Finals, but it’s just something you have to get used to.

“I think playing Division I golf is going to be awesome. It’s something I’m prepared for. I’m looking forward to seeing how my game stacks up with the best college golfers in the world. I’m very excited to go there.”

Eichhorn, who will major in business communications, was every bit as happy with the Wolves again taking the team title.

“Winning as a team is a great feeling,” he said. “We’ve had the same team for basically three years, and this was our best score as a group. Everybody kept getting better, which put us in position to succeed.”

Cedarville senior Avry Freel, who’s attending Ferris State University this fall in preparation for his player’s ability test, earned runner-up honors with a 70. Carney senior Mason Linder and North Central junior Ben Snyder shared third place at 80.

“This is the best score I’ve had in a tournament,” said Freel. “My approach shot was working pretty well, and the course and weather conditions were nice. I was a little nervous and three-putted the first hole. Then, I birdied the second hole and settled in. It was hard to get used to the greens at first. We’ve had Finals here the last two years and we practiced here yesterday (Wednesday). I knew which clubs I needed to use.

“I’ve played with Hunter the past three years. I always try to beat him, but he’s such a good player. I have a feeling he’s going to do quite well in college.”

First-year Carney coach Mike Polfus said this was a fun season for him and the players.

“The kids were great and fun to be around,” he added. “Hunter has been phenomenal. He’s an unbelievable leader, and the kids got along real well. There would sometimes be little bit of good-natured ribbing when a kid would miss a shot, and they always complimented each other on a good shot.

“We knew Cedarville would probably the closest team to us, and their kid (Freel) shot a real nice score. It’s good for Hunter to have that competition. It makes him play better and concentrate more.”

Cedarville coach Rob Freel said he was happy with where the Trojans finished.

“I think they played very well,” he added. “Avry had an excellent round. I think Avry and Hunter gave us a real good show. Our boys did as well as they could. It was a little emotional on the last hole.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Carney-Nadeau’s Hunter Eichhorn chips a shot near the green at Thursday’s U.P. Division 3 Golf Finals at Gladstone’s Irish Oaks Golf Course. Eichhorn was medalist with a 66 and led the Wolves to the team title. (Middle) Cedarville’s Avry Freel watches a putt on the way to finishing individual runner-up. (Photos by Mike Mattson.)

Lacrosse Finals Move to U-M Among Headlines as Spring Sports Ramp Up

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

April 9, 2024

The Girls & Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played at University of Michigan Lacrosse Stadium for the first time, one of the most notable changes for this season as sports ramp up for more than 100,000 athletes anticipated to participate this spring for Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools.

The MHSAA sponsors postseason competition each spring in baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

The U-M Lacrosse Stadium opened for competition in 2018 and seats 2,000 spectators. The Girls Lacrosse Finals will be played Friday, June 7, with Division 1 at 4 p.m. and Division 2 at 7 p.m. The Boys Lacrosse Finals will be played the following day, June 8, with Division 2 at 11 a.m. and Division 1 at 2 p.m.

Girls lacrosse also has a significant format adjustment this season, as games will be played with four 12-minutes quarters instead of the previous two halves, in part to allow coaches more opportunities to provide direct instruction during a game. Two more rules changes are expected to improve flow of play – players awarded a free position outside of the critical scoring area no longer must come to a stop and settled stance before self-starting, and false start penalties outside the critical scoring area have been eliminated.

Several more rules changes will be noticeable this spring:

In boys lacrosse, a change was made to enhance player safety. Play will stop immediately any time a player’s helmet comes off, and that player may not return until the next dead ball after play continues.

Fair and legal starts are a continued emphasis for track & field, and a rule change will allow for movement before the start of the race as long as a competitor does not leave their mark with a hand or a foot after the “set” command, or make forward motion before the starting device is activated.

A significant rule change in softball alters pitch delivery mechanics. The pitcher may now have both feet off the ground at the same time when releasing the ball as long as both feet remain within the 24-inch width of a pitching plate and the pitcher does not replant the pivot foot before delivering the pitch.

Another change in softball requires that a playbook/playcard be worn on the wrist or kept in a back pocket to reduce distractions. If worn by the pitcher, the equipment must be worn on the non-pitching arm. Similarly in baseball, a wristband with plays or instructions will be permitted but must be a single, solid color, and for pitchers may not contain the colors white or gray or be otherwise distracting. Baseball players must wear this wristband on the wrist or forearm, and pitchers may wear one only on their non-pitching arm.

Also in baseball, a rule change allows for one-way communication devices worn by the catcher to receive instructions from the dugout while on defense, for the purpose of calling pitches. The coach must be inside the dugout/bench area to use the communication device.

Golfers now are required to participate in at least four competitions for the high school team prior to representing that school team in an MHSAA Regional or Final. Those four regular-season competitions may be 9 or 18-hole events.

In tennis, for the first time in Lower Peninsula play, a No. 1 doubles flight from a non-qualifying team will be able to advance from its Regional to Finals competition. To do so, that No. 1 doubles flight must finish first or second at its Regional, and the No. 1 singles player from that team also must have qualified for the Finals individually by finishing first or second in Regional play.

On the soccer pitch, two officiating-related changes will be especially noticeable. Officials now may stop the clock to check on an injured player without that player being required to leave the match – previously that player would have to sub out. Also, categories for fouls have been redefined: careless (which is a foul but does not receive a card), reckless (a foul with a yellow card) and excessive force (foul with red card). 

The 2023-24 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals during the week of May 27 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 15. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regional Semifinals – June 5
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 8
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Boys Regionals – May 28-June 1
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 7-8

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 10-15
Regionals – May 16-29
Quarterfinals – May 31 or June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 8

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 16-18, or May 20
Regionals – May 22-June 1
Semifinals – June 5
Finals – June 7

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 22-June 1
Regionals – June 4-8
Semifinals – June 11-12
Finals – June 14-15

Districts – May 23-June 1
Regionals – June 8
Quarterfinals – June 11
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 15

LP Girls Regionals – May 15-18
UP Boys Finals – May 29, 30, 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – May 31-June 1

Track & Field
Regionals – May 16-18
Finals – June 1